Craig Tracey the Member of Parliament for North Warwickshire and Bedworth met with Breast Cancer Care at parliament to support the launch of their new Care After Breast Cancer campaign.
Following a landmark survey by the charity, of almost 3,000 women with primary breast cancer, has revealed that two fifths (41%) did not receive the professional support they needed to cope with the long-term effects of the disease.
Breast Cancer Care is now seeking a commitment from the Department of Health and Social Care that every woman who needs it should have access to a breast cancer-specific support event to help them start to navigate life after treatment.
The charity says breast cancer-specific support must be introduced in hospitals to enable women to manage their unique symptoms and side effects, which differ considerably from other common cancers. Yet, it found that over half (51%) of Hospital Trusts don’t provide a specific breast cancer support event when women finish hospital treatment.
Craig Tracey who regularly works with and campaigns for Breast Cancer Charities says:
“This campaign is right to highlight the need to support people at the end of hospital treatment. Its important to empower patients to live life after breast cancer with confidence.
“I am calling on the Government to work with the NHS to ensure that everyone has access to the specialised, ongoing support they need after hospital treatment ends.”
There are an estimated 579,000 women living with a breast cancer diagnosis in England.
The survey also found that before finishing hospital treatment just under half (46%) of women with breast cancer are not told, by a healthcare professional, about all the possible long-term effects of the disease and its treatment.4 And a third (32%) of women with breast cancer experience fatigue as a result of treatment that has prevented them from continuing with their normal daily life.5
Our local MP met mum-of-two Stella Maher (54, from South London), diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. She says:
“Going through breast cancer treatment was incredibly tough, but an even bigger challenge has been trying to detach myself from the experience and move on. There were constant reminders of what I’d been through - even a year after finishing chemotherapy I was living with constant fatigue. I also felt so sure the cancer would come back I was expecting to find it at every turn.
“Things don’t just go back to normal when treatment finishes and getting the support I needed meant instead of just trying to get by I could start taking steps towards thriving again.”
Gunes Kalkan, Head of Evidence, Policy and Campaigns at Breast Cancer Care, says:
“We are extremely grateful to Craig Tracey MP for joining us to show his support for our campaign to ensure women with breast cancer get the healthcare support they so desperately need to face the life-changing and long-term emotional and physical effects.
“Great strides in treatment over the last 70 years mean that more and more women are surviving breast cancer. Now it’s crucial the system catches up and ensures these women are given the ongoing care they need to live well - not just to survive.”
Anyone can join the Care After Breast Cancer campaign - visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk/cancer-care